How to Understand the Rich man, the Camel and the eye of the Needle: Jesus makes and interesting statement…he said it’s easier for a camel to enter through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
This scripture has puzzled me, it puzzled the disciples also, by the comments they made. As a result have you been taught its better to be poor that seek riches and frightened into being “poor” for fear of not entering because you’re too rich? Be encouraged.
I was instructed when reading the bible to read three times from three perspectives -the historical, the physical interaction and the spiritual. Over the years I have found it easy to do the historical and physical, but the spiritual doesn’t come so easy. Do you find that too?
Well back to this passage, the response of the disciples show’s they understood a perspective on the physical interaction perfectly. I think we do too. It’s a harrowing thought…just being rich makes it almost impossible to enter heaven…that’s simply dreadful. Is the meaning so simple and absolute?
Let’s look at the historical perspective. Have there been rich men prior to Jesus on the earth? Did God call only poor people? Certainly not. God calls us based on what we can achieve with his resources not out own. Starting with Abraham, many of the men we read about were rich, some filthy rich even by today’s standards….but let’s not dwell on their riches.
So this is where I’ve always been confused. Trying to reconcile this camel analogy to the historic. Interestingly I realise now, I hadn’t spent much time thinking through what this means in the spiritual.
There was something very special about Jesus. To quote a song; He came from heaven to earth, to show the way, from the earth to the cross, from the cross to the grave then resurrection (my bit). He was fully human but He was also begotten of the Father. So when He spoke on earth, we can’t apply “only” human meaning, we absolutely need to apply spiritual meaning.
We are required to be poor in spirit, in other words, no pride, or as Paul writes so that we cannot boast. So what does the rich man, the camel and needle analogy mean in the spirit. Jesus was highlighting the path to salvation, it doesn’t depend on riches but on following Christ..!!! When Jesus asks us to sell all we have to follow Him, He is not asking us to be poor. He is asking us to put him first. Make Him the objective of our lives.
So let’s repeat that passage in the spirit – it is easier for a camel to enter through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven (as in paying his way with his riches).